Dribble Handoff: Teams who can finish strong play their way to the 2023 NCAA Tournament

With less than seven weeks left until Sunday scheduled for the 2023 NCAA Tournament, the halfway point of the college basketball regular season has passed. Resumes are cemented, but there’s still time for some teams outside the NCAA Tournament picture to turn things around and get to the Big Dance.

Each team that qualifies for its conference tournament will have a chance to secure an automatic bid, and those with strong regular-season finishes can play their way into the overall nomination. At this time last year, Virginia Tech She was only 10-10 (2-7 ACC) and is clearly on the wrong side of the bubble. But the Hokies won nine of their last 11 regular season games, then won four games in four days in the ACC Tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed.

As it happens, the Hokies find themselves in a similar position this season of needing a big finish to make the 68-team ballpark. Plenty of other high-ambitious pre-season teams are finding themselves firmly on the wrong side of the bubble as February approaches.

In this week’s edition of Dribble Handoff, our writers pick the teams that are currently out of CBS Sports Brackets science Projected NCAA Tournament pitcher Jerry Palm who they believe will play at the Big Dance.

Texas A&M isn’t even one of them Jerry Palm first four out, which is quite understandable. I didn’t write that to highlight a perceived error so much as to show how much work the Aggies need to do.

They are clearly going in the right direction. After a 6-5 start that saw several troubling losses, Texas A&M has gone 7-1 in its past eight games with the only loss in Kentucky. According to BartTorvik.com, the Aggies performed like a top 10 team in that eight-game stretch. So they are now 3-4 in the first two quarters, with one additional loss falling in quarter 3 (Murray State) and another located in quadrant 4 (Wofford).

This is not cool. However, eight of Texas A&M’s last 12 regular season games will be Quadruple 1 contests based on current NET ratings. If the Aggies continue their high-profile play from recent weeks, they should win enough of those Quad-1 games to make their first NCAA Tournament under Buzz Williams. – Gary Parish

Here’s what I trust: the power of the Big 12. The league ranks the Streets ahead of all other conferences on every metric; It is indisputable that this league is number 1. There is a gap between the top six (pick your order) from IowaAnd TexasAnd Kansas StateAnd KansasAnd TCU And Baylor. Any of these teams can win the league, and the other four are one or two levels lower.

However, I see one of the OklahomaOklahoma State West Virginia And Texas Tech He will find a comprehensive profile. TTU is still winless in the league; It’s not dancing this season. West Virginia is 1-6 in the Big 12 and 11-8 overall. Not much better. Oklahoma schools are 11-9 years old and they are shaking. However, the Cowboys have the 10 best defense in the country. They own a win over Iowa and have more home games than road games remaining. Quadruple 1 wins exist. Even if it is hardly, even if it means going to Dayton For the first four, I’ll ride with Pokes. Matt Norlander

Virginia Tech

No team under the ACC’s current 1-7 configuration has ever started league play and gone on to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. That’s nearly a decade of results after the realignment that such slow starts are a death knell for March Madness’ hopes. Virginia Tech entering the 68-team field would be, by modern standards, unprecedented. But in the Hokies I think.

They finished their seven-game sliding streak in the league with a win duke At home, but dig a little deeper and the losing streak won’t be as bad as it seems. One loss came in overtime, three were by one possession, and one loss was by one point, all of which were by 10 points or less.

This team is about to turn around. It’s 49th in NET, 46th in KenPom, and 46th in BartTorvik—in the same neighborhood as the expected NCAA Tournament teams. With a 2-7 ACC record and already piling up losses, Virginia Tech has little margin for error. However, in a year when the league has been historically weak, this team could do wonders if it were marginally better moving forward.

The schedule is well set up, and given the way Mike Young’s club has handled adversity, I’m buying low while I can. Consider: Virginia Tech opened ACC play 2-7 last year before finishing 11-9 in the regular season and winning the ACC tournament outright to eventually earn an 11 seed. Don’t write off this program too soon. – Kyle Boone

On 14-7 (7-3 Pac-12), Utah pulled into shape after a sweep of Washington schools in a convincing manner. The Utes are just 4-7 against Quads 1 and 2 but are a perfect 10-0 against Quads 3 and 4. Five of their last 10 games are from Quad 1, giving them ample opportunity to improve their resume. Big man Branden Carlson plays the best basketball of his career, averaging 17 points and 7.6 rebounds on 56.8% shooting from the floor. He also blocks 2.3 shots per game and shoots 43.8% from beyond the arc on 3.2 attempts per game, which is an excellent number for a seven-footer.

Carlson’s edge protection is one of the reasons Utah’s defense is among the best in the country. Opponents shoot only 37.4% from the floor against Utes and only 28% from behind the arc. Both brands are in the top 10 nationally, and Utah has enemies only 62.3 points per game, which is 28th in the nation.

The Utah offense isn’t elite, but the Utes hit better than 50% from the floor on their blast. Washington state Washington last week. If these performances mark the turning point of the offense, this team will find itself on the right side of the expected bubble in no time. – David Cobb

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